I saw this movie twice on opening weekend. I went once with friends, and then again on Mother's Day because my mom wanted to see it in IMAX. And who am I to refuse a free movie?
To start off, I'll say this about "Iron Man 2" - it was NOT made to be in IMAX theaters. Apparently it is quite popular these days to simply reformat a movie after it's been shot to play in an IMAX theater rather than shoot the movie with IMAX cameras. This is a ripoff, in my opinion, that compares to reformatting a film to be in 3D. I think it's the movie industry's way of trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of paying customers.
With that said, while the film was enjoyable to watch in IMAX, I wouldn't have bothered if it hadn't been free. I had a similar experience in the normal theater.
As for the movie itself, I found Robert Downey Jr., once again, to be spectacular as Tony Stark. His cockiness and narcissism is somewhat endearing because while yes, Tony Stark is all about Tony Stark, he IS fighting evil too. And frankly, if I had invented the Iron Man Suit in addition to all of the other gadgets that Tony rocks in this film, I'd be a bit full of myself as well.
Surprisingly, I found Scarlett Johansson's character, Natalie Rushman, aka The Black Widow, to be a total bad ass. And I was incorrect in assuming that she was a villain prior to seeing the movie. She's actually one of the good guys, and has some frickin' amazing martial arts moves. So I give major props to Scarlett.
Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as Pepper Potts, who gets promoted to CEO of Stark Industries, and hence has to clean up all of Tony's messes, while Don Cheadle takes over the role of Colonel James Rhodes who has the unfortunate duty of being Tony's friend/liaison to the U.S. military. To be honest, I could've done without Don Cheadle. And the same goes for Terrence Howard who played Rhodes in the original. Maybe it was because Rhodes is always attempting to procure the Iron Man technology for the military, or that he just plain wasn't much fun, but either way, Rhodes' role could have been minimized further.
Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell had the distinct pleasure of playing the villains. Mickey Rourke was absolutely foul as a Russian physicist out for vengeance (and as my mother commented, "Are all of those tattoos real? Because if they are, that is disgusting."). I have always found Sam Rockwell to be fantastic in pretty much any role, and he doesn't disappoint here. And he dances, which is always fantastic.
There was a lot going on in this film, and while yes, it got kind of hectic, I also thought it was entertaining as hell. So on the CWeave scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 7. It wasn't as good as the original, but the performances really drive the film, as long as you can stomach the fact that Jon Favreau gave himself a much bigger role the second time around, and you would rather that he didn't.